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Universal Design for Learning, Bucket Lists, BFFs, and UPenn

Katie Novak
Katie Novak
August 17, 2020

Exciting News!

Everyone has a professional bucket list – things they wish to accomplish in their careers. Take a moment and think about the things you would most like to accomplish. For me, the list has always included the following (and believe me, this is so scary putting this out there!): publish in the New York Times and the Atlantic, speak at the TED conference, and teach at an Ivy League University. 

I haven’t been able to make the NYT or Atlantic yet, and I have yet to secure a TED talk, even though I have tried… multiple times. But, today, I am so excited to share another partnership with my long lost brother and BFF, George Couros, and the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn). [read: Bucket list!]

George and I are thrilled to partner with the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education to offer a graduate certificate (9 credits) in Learning and Leading with Universal Design for Learning (UDL). This program brings together research on systems change and implementation science, and weaves in the importance of inclusive practice, innovation, flexibility, and relationships. We are incredibly excited to continue to work together, at an Ivy League institution, no less! Learn more and register here.

If you join us, you will learn about the importance of embracing learner variability, proactively identifying barriers, and unlearning the beliefs, skills, and systems that prevent all students from learning and innovating, especially those students who have been historically marginalized. In these courses, George and I will share the power and promise of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and the Innovator’s Mindset and provide learners with options, choices, and opportunities to reflect, create, connect, and innovate. And goodness gracious, has there ever been a better time for this?

We truly believe that this program provides a pathway to elevate and celebrate effective teachers and teaching, helps learners to identify critical implementation drivers to create new and better systems, and to do this in a way that ensures that every learner, especially those learners who have been excluded and marginalized, have equal opportunities to dream, create, and share their brilliance with the world even when we are designing and delivering education remotely. 

If you’ve dreamed of learning at an Ivy League institution (check your bucket list!), or if you’re interested in furthering your education in Universal Design for Learning (UDL), the Innovator’s Mindset, and expert learning check out our courses

In a shout out to late night TV hosts, we are sharing 10 reasons why you should take this course.

Why to get your UDL certificate


10 Reasons why to get a graduate certificate in Universal Design for Learning (UDL) from UPenn GSE:

  • It's  from UPenn! (Hello, Ivy League)
  • It's taught with George Couros...need I say more? 😀
  • Flexible schedule - ok there are due dates, but that's it. Everything else is on your own schedule
  • Create new and better systems - you won't find any "that's the way we always do it" here! Why?
  • Because innovation is key! We'll share the power of the Innovator's Mindset to create more equitable systems
  • Learn the importance of embracing learner variability
  • Options! Options for you through the course and options, choices, and opportunities for your learners
  • So you can unlearn! That's right. In this program, we will focus on unlearning the beliefs, skills, and systems that prevent all students from learning and innovating
  • Universal Design for Learning - create learners who are purposeful and motivated, resourceful and motivated, and strategic and goal-directed
  • There is no better time than NOW for this course!

If this isn’t on your bucket list, continue to pursue your goals and dreams, whatever they are. Think big, have faith and share your goals with others. You don’t know – they may just get ticked off when you least expect it.

Much love,


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